ILO / Turkey: The closure of the 19 unions and punishment of their executives and members are unlawful

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On 24 Marh 2021, the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation approved the reports of its committees which concluded that Turkey breached its obligations under the ILO conventions, namely the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87) and the Termination of Employment Convention, 1982 (No. 158).

The reports were adopted by the Committees which were set up upon complaints filed by the Action Workers’ Union Confederation (Aksiyon-Is). After a thorough investigation, the ILO concluded that Turkey’s actions including the administrative closure of nineteen workers’ union, and the dismissal and prosecution of the civil servants who were the members the closed unions breached the ILO Convention Nos. 87 and 158. 

“The Committee considers that the administrative dissolution of trade union organizations constitutes a clear violation of Article 4 of Convention No. 87.

The Committee concludes that these workers were punished for their membership in a trade union, without any need for proof of specific action or involvement or even knowledge that they may have had about a possible affiliation with a terrorist organization. In other words, these workers were punished for having exercised their right to join organizations of their own choosing guaranteed by Article 2 of Convention No. 87 without any possibility of review of their individual situation.

The Committee considers that the consequences of this absence of due process were particularly stark and extensive in that, in addition to being dismissed, the workers concerned were blacklisted as being or having ties to terrorists, thereby precluding them from securing alternative employment, their passports were cancelled (article 2(2) of Decree-Law No. 672 and articles 4(2) and 5 of Decree-Law No. 667), 18 they received no termination indemnities and were deprived of their entitlements under the health, unemployment and pension systems to which they were affiliated and had been contributing, in violation of Article 12 of Convention No. 158.” 

The ILO further decided that the State of Emergency Inquiry Commission did not provide effective remedy for those dismissed under the state of emergency.

Categories: Unjust / Wrongful Convictions

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